Oblivion holds a special place in my heart. I remember spending a summer in the town I went to college in, and playing Oblivion almost every day while listening to Dream Theater’s Systematic Chaos. Back then, I wasn’t aware of modding, so it was literally just vanilla Oblivion for hours upon hours. I also used Windows, so the game would run fine. Now, things have changed. The easier issue to deal with is playing Oblivion on Linux. Thanks to Valve, Oblivion runs excellent with Proton out of the box. The more challenging issue is mods, and that’s what this write-up is all about!
Starting from the beginning, Oblivion is available on many platforms, but my
experiences here will assume the Steam installation. The primary difference will
be with respect to how the tools used to mod Oblivion are run. I’ve got the
Game of the Year edition, which is Steam ID
Much of modding Oblivion is done with the help of additional tools. A mod
manager is used for installing and configuring the mods. There are several
options for Oblivion, and the one I’ve been suggested and use is called
Bash. Mod load order is also important, and the tool I’m using to help with
BethINI each helps with
performance and configuration.
I have the following directory structure setup for my mods:
OblivionMods |- Archives |- Backups |- Tools |- WryeBash
Archives is where I store the actual archives of the mods I use. Backups is
where I store any relevant backups for my Oblivion game, such as saves or
configuration files for the mods. Tools is where I put the executables for all
the tools I mentioned above. WryeBash is used to store the unarchived mods
(which it calls “projects”) and mod data that
Wrye Bash uses.
Because each of these tools is run using Proton, I also have a set of aliases configured. Similar aliases could be setup for using Wine instead. For each alias, modify the paths accordingly for your setup. I should also note that I’m running Oblivion using Glorious Eggroll’s Proton, version 6.16. I haven’t experimented with different Proton versions to find the most performant version, but if I do in the future, I’ll mention it.
Wrye Bash is involved. I don’t know how to use it fully. There are a few
guides that helped me learn how to use it enough to get mods installed and
configured though. The first, and very relevant, is at Shrine of
Kynareth. I referenced
this guide, and the
to learn how Wrye Bash works and what to setup. I also learned some tricks from
the Oblivion Comprehensive Modding Guide by
The easiest option is to use the stand-alone executable from the GitHub releases page. Extract the archive, and then use Proton to run the executable in the Mopy directory. This is the alias I use; replace paths accordingly:
alias oblivion-wrye='STEAM_COMPAT_DATA_PATH=/path/to/steam/directory/steamapps/compatdata/22330/ \ STEAM_COMPAT_CLIENT_INSTALL_PATH=/path/to/steam/directory/ \ /path/to/proton/proton run /path/to/OblivionMods/Tools/Mopy/Wrye\ Bash.exe'
Additionally, I copy the Mopy/bash_default.ini file to Mopy/bash.ini and set
sOblivionMods to “Z:\path\to\OblivionMods\WryeBash”,
“Z:\path\to\OblivionMods\WryeBash\Bash Mod Data”,
“Z:\path\to\OblivionMods\WryeBash\Bash Installers”, and
“Z:\path\to\steam\steamapps\common\Oblivion”. In Wine,
Z: references your
local file system. Theoretically, because Wine is awesome, you may be able to
use Linux file system paths in the configuration, but I went with this.
The guides above provide a very thorough explanation of use. Of note:
Bash in Wine does not like drag-and-drop actions, so don’t do them. I don’t do
anything special with my usage of
Wrye Bash: run the alias, install mods from
the Installers tab, enable or disable mods from the Mods tab. I generally don’t
do anything else.
LOOT sets the proper load order for mods. There is a native Linux client, but
I ran into this issue and decided to
just use the Windows version. The GitHub releases page includes a 7z archive
with a stand-alone executable, and that’s what I used.
Download the stand-alone executable, and extract it to OblivionMods/Tools. This is the alias I use; replace paths accordingly:
alias oblivion-loot='STEAM_COMPAT_DATA_PATH=/path/to/steam/directory/steamapps/compatdata/22330/ \ STEAM_COMPAT_CLIENT_INSTALL_PATH=/path/to/steam/directory/ \ /path/to/proton/proton run /path/to/OblivionMods/Tools/LOOT/LOOT.exe'
On first run, it should auto-detect the Oblivion installation and configure everything accordingly. If it doesn’t, there are instructions on the Homepage for configuration.
LOOT is pretty straight forward. It references a master list of mods to
determine the optimal load order for all installed mods. I ran into an issue
LOOT couldn’t properly download the master list, and so as a work-around
I manually downloaded the master list, and then configured
LOOT to use that
local file instead of the remote Git repository. Those instructions are covered
in the FAQ. If
everything works, and the list of mods is there, then you can run a sort, and
apply the changes.
LOOT will inform you of any “dirty” mods, which you can use
the next tool the clear up. I ended up keeping
LOOT open, while stepping
through the cleaning procedure for each mod, until everything looked happy.
TES4Edit is the Oblivion version of
xEdit, which is an incredible tool. All
I use it for is to clean dirty mods.
LOOT provides a link to the quick cleaning
which gives us exactly the steps required.
Download the latest build from GitHub, and extract it to OblivionMods/Tools. This is the alias I use, which runs the “Quick Auto Clean” function; replace paths accordingly:
alias oblivion-tes4edit-quick='STEAM_COMPAT_DATA_PATH=/path/to/steam/directory/steamapps/compatdata/22330/ \ STEAM_COMPAT_CLIENT_INSTALL_PATH=/path/to/steam/directory/ \ /path/to/proton/proton run /path/to/OblivionMods/Tools/TES4Edit/TES4EditQuickAutoClean.exe'
TES4Edit is also useful for other, non-quick-clean functionality, so I have this alias for that:
alias oblivion-tes4edit='STEAM_COMPAT_DATA_PATH=/path/to/steam/directory/steamapps/compatdata/22330/ \ STEAM_COMPAT_CLIENT_INSTALL_PATH=/path/to/steam/directory/ \ /path/to/proton/proton run /path/to/OblivionMods/Tools/TES4Edit/TES4Edit.exe'
Run the quick-clean alias, select the problematic file, and click “OK”. Only one file can be cleaned at a time.
TES4LODGen will generate the relevant LOD files ahead of time. Apparently it
helps with performance in-game, but may result in slower initial load times when
starting the game.
I downloaded the files from Nexus, and extracted the archive to OblivionMods/Tools/TES4LODGen. Here’s the alias; replace paths accordingly:
alias oblivion-tes4lodgen='STEAM_COMPAT_DATA_PATH=/path/to/steam/directory/steamapps/compatdata/22330/ \ STEAM_COMPAT_CLIENT_INSTALL_PATH=/path/to/steam/directory/ \ /path/to/proton/proton run /path/to/OblivionMods/Tools/TES4LODGen/TES4LODGen.exe'
Run the alias. The program should auto-find everything, do some magic, and will eventually report that it has finished. At that point, you can close the application.
BethINI helps manage the “oblivion.ini” file, providing sane options and a
wizard for configuration. While not required, it does help with optimizations.
I downloaded the files from Nexus, and extracted the archive to OblivionMods/Tools/Bethini. If you use AutoHotKey apparently you can use that to run it, but that doesn’t make sense to me, so I went with the stand-alone executable. Here’s the alias; replace paths accordingly:
alias oblivion-bethini='STEAM_COMPAT_DATA_PATH=/path/to/steam/directory/steamapps/compatdata/22330/ \ STEAM_COMPAT_CLIENT_INSTALL_PATH=/path/to/steam/directory/ \ /path/to/proton/proton run /path/to/OblivionMods/Tools/BethINI/BethINI.exe'
Just like the rest, run the alias and answer the questions.
BethINI will make
backups of the modified INI files before over-writing them.
Once all the tools are assembled, and usable, the next step is mods! In my next post, I’ll cover some of my favorite mods. The third part will then be a complete walk-thru of my installation of my full mod list.